Manatee elections office preparing for possibility of recount
Election night is over, but as votes continue to be counted, the possibility of a statewide recount looms and there are still a couple hundred ballots to count in Manatee County.
Thursday, Secretary of State Ken Detzner told county election supervisors in a conference call to plan for as many as three statewide recounts, according to the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau.
Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett said he has made plans, and would be ready to start a possible recount by 2 p.m. Sunday.
“We are assuming it’s going to happen,” Bennett said. “We plan to meet Sunday and we will be there starting at 8 a.m. Monday.”
The recount process can take days. Bennett said he and his staff are scheduling for it all the way through nearly the end of next week.
Official results will be certified by the state by Nov. 20.
He added that process would including setting up, testing, and running equipment and then setting it up for the official recount.
There were a total of 163,484 votes cast in Manatee County by mail, in early voting and on Election Day, a 66.7 percent turnout, according to the Supervisor of Elections Office website. There are 246,316 registered voters in Manatee County.
Bennett said there are approximately 280 provisional ballots that were reviewed at 5 p.m. Thursday and a “small number” of overseas or military ballots still to count.
All other votes, he said, were counted.
As of Thursday morning, the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reported Gov. Rick Scott led Sen. Bill Nelson in the race for a U.S. Senate seat by 21,899 votes or .26 percent of 8.2 million ballots cast, while Matt Caldwell led Nikki Fried in the agriculture commissioner race by 4,109 votes or .06 percent, and Ron DeSantis led Andrew Gillum by 42,938 or .52 percent for governor, citing state Division of Elections web site.
If the margin in a statewide race is less than 0.5 percent, Detzner is required to order a machine recount.
County canvassing boards must report their first unofficial returns to the state by noon Saturday, with the second round of unofficial returns due on Nov. 15 if a machine recount is ordered.
Voters who filled out a provisional ballot can check its status on the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office website using the ballot ID.
Those who voted by mail can also track and check their ballot’s status on the Supervisor of Elections Office website.
A complete summary of all Florida recount procedures can be found here.
According to the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, campaigns Wednesday demanded details on “all voters who cast provisional ballots Tuesday,” but county election supervisors rejected their requests saying it violated state law.
Bennett said no candidates, or anyone from their campaigns, has reached out to his office for information on provisional ballots; however, the Democratic and Republican parties have reached out.